The Paraplegics Organization of Cyprus (OPAK) is in a waiting position regarding its request for hotels to comply with criteria that would make them accessible to people with mobility issues. During a meeting held months ago with the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Kostas Koumi, assurances were given that the issue would be resolved.
The gap in accessibility checks for hotels became more apparent during the summer months, where the organization received dozens of complaints from its members. This mainly pertained to the official list that includes hotel units providing services to people with disabilities (PWD). In fact, in many cases, members of the organization who had planned their vacations at hotels chosen from this list ended up spending their days distressed and isolated due to the inadequacy of the facilities.
In this context, the Ministry of Tourism is expected to announce the way it will handle the gaps identified through relevant inspections and to develop a new registry that will cover all accessible hotels, while hotels are expected to comply with the legislation.
As reported to the REPORTER, the president of the Organization, Dimitris Lamprianidis, stated that the Ministry assured them they would soon receive information about the procedures. “It is now a fact and a serious issue that several hotels, without holding special licenses, violate accessibility issues. The legislation regarding hotel accessibility was passed in 1986, while the legislation for buildings was passed in 1999. From 1999 until today, it is inconceivable that there is no registry for which hotels are truly accessible,” he said.
They are requesting more accessible three-star hotels.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lambrianidis mentioned that, in addition to the above, he discussed with the responsible Deputy Minister the prices of accessible hotels. The organization is requesting more accessible three-star hotels that will provide everyone with the opportunity for short vacations. “Most accessible hotels are five stars, and not everyone has the financial means to pay for their stay in such a hotel. There should be the possibility of staying in three-star hotels and offering affordable prices,” he said.
In conclusion, Mr. Lamprianidis noted that all issues related to the accessibility of hotels are very serious. “We expect to have a reliable list of accessible hotels at least before the summer season. It’s something we will push for. All people should have choices and know where we can have safe vacations with our families,” he said.